Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How I Got My Agent!
Guest Post By Brenda Corey Dunne

It is my pleasure to introduce my friend and agent-mate, Brenda Corey Dunne. Today, she is sharing with us her agent story as well as her wonderful indie title, TREASURE IN THE FLAME.

How I Got My Agent!
by Brenda Corey Dunne

In 2008, I finished my first manuscript ever, and being the impatient, know-it-all person that I am, I submitted it immediately to three publishers and three or four agents. It was a middle grade manuscript, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I made every mistake in the book. It hadn’t been professionally edited, hadn’t been work-shopped and needed a LOT of work.

You guessed it, I got form rejections from most of my submissions, and the rest were the "if you don’t hear from us in six months…you won’t" type of rejections. Guess what? I didn’t hear from them.

I attended WriteOnCon, got some advice, got no requests.

I kept writing.

In 2011, I finished my second full length manuscript entitled TREASURE IN THE FLAME during NaNoWriMo. I had it professionally edited. I joined an online critique group with some fabulous writers I met via a twitter chat (including the fabulous Tina Moss…). They helped me fix a few things, and gave me huge amounts of encouragement. I submitted to five (yes, just five) agents and one publisher. I got REALLY nice rejections. I attended WriteOnCon again, and got more requests for fulls. I got more rejections, with encouragement to submit my next works to agents.

I kept writing.

In 2012, I finished my third full length manuscript, entitled SKIN. I had it professionally edited.

After three finished full-length manuscripts, I decided I was going to take this writing thing seriously, had TREASURE edited again and began to look into self-publishing. I worked with a professional cover artist and a copy editor. I had it formatted, uploaded, did a launch, signings across eastern Canada, sold a few books, started my new blog (, beefed up my social media presence and…

I kept writing.

By fall of 2012 I had submitted SKIN to twenty-one agents in batches of three or four at a time and I’ll admit, I was starting to give up hope. Rejection after rejection is hard to take. I’d work-shopped my query at WriteOnCon, I’d submitted to twitter query contests, I even paid extra money for a one-on-one conference session with a real, live agent who I’m pretty sure didn’t even read my submission. I researched and rewrote and banged my head against my computer screen but nothing worked. I got polite rejections, often with encouragement to resubmit, but nothing solid.

I kept writing.

In November 2012 I finished my fourth full length manuscript. Also in November of 2012 I was chatting at the same time with a certain literary friend (ah-hem…), I took one last chance and submitted my work-shopped-to-death SKIN query to Jennifer Mishler at Literary Counsel. I wasn’t very hopeful, but this friend was adamant that I try. I submitted…and moved on to other things.

But then…shocker of all shockers, that nasty email bing came, and it wasn’t a rejection! It was an “I’d like to talk” email. A wonderful, amazing, what’s your phone-number email. And then a this is our contract, please sign here email!

It took almost five years and many manuscripts, workshops, conferences, edits and hair-pulling rejections, but I found my dream agents! Jenn and Fran at Literary Counsel are awesome, and in 2014 my first traditionally published manuscript, DEPENDENT, will be published by Jolly Fish Press.

If you’re still in the nasty world of querying, my advice is DON’T GIVE UP. Stay in touch with others on Twitter and Facebook and go to conferences if you can. This business is a roller coaster ride, but so worth it. Keep working, keep trying, keep editing and researching and most of all…



About Treasure in the Flame

Aminda Ingerham’s father will not wake up. The blacksmith’s lecherous son will not leave her alone. The sawmill workers will not accept her in her father’s place. And the Pastor’s spittle-flecked, fire-and-brimstone sermons are only making matters worse.

To save her father’s mill—and his life—fifteen-year-old Aminda must put her trust in a mysterious old tinker, a handsome village outcast and a troublesome treasure map, each leading her to strange and dangerous places she’d never imagined she’d go.

Only then can Aminda find the Treasure in the Flame.

Get your copy here

Find Brenda:

Thank you so much to Brenda for coming on the blog today and sharing her agent story! Be sure to pick up TREASURE IN THE FLAME and check out her newest work from Jolly Fish Press, DEPENDENT, this spring!


  1. This sounds so much like me! Everything. It could be me writing this. EXCEPT I'm still waiting on the email/phone call of representation.

    But it's helpful knowing there's hope when you don't. give. up.

    Keep writing.
    Keep working.
    Keep submitting.

    Thanks. I believe I will!!
    Lovely post!

    1. Keep trying Ink in the Book! Someday that agent will come along. Good Luck! (and thanks!) Brenda

    2. Agree with Brenda. You can do it, Ink! Keep writing. :D

  2. Tbat's always great advice, not just for lading an agent, but for all things writing. Thanks for sharing.